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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

ACT IV SCENE II Milan. Outside the Duke’s palace, under Silvia’s chamber.
PROTEUS Already have I been false to Valentine
And now I must be as unjust to Thurio.
Under the colour of commending him,
I have access my own love to prefer:
But Silvia is too fair, too true, too holy, 5
To be corrupted with my worthless gifts.
When I protest true loyalty to her,
She twits me with my falsehood to my friend;
When to her beauty I commend my vows,
She bids me think how I have been forsworn 10
In breaking faith with Julia whom I loved:
And notwithstanding all her sudden quips,
The least whereof would quell a lover’s hope,
Yet, spaniel-like, the more she spurns my love,
The more it grows and fawneth on her still. 15
But here comes Thurio: now must we to her window,
And give some evening music to her ear.
[Enter THURIO and Musicians]
THURIO How now, Sir Proteus, are you crept before us?
PROTEUS Ay, gentle Thurio: for you know that love
Will creep in service where it cannot go. 20
THURIO Ay, but I hope, sir, that you love not here.
PROTEUS Sir, but I do; or else I would be hence.
THURIO Who? Silvia?
PROTEUS Ay, Silvia; for your sake.
THURIO I thank you for your own. Now, gentlemen, 25
Let’s tune, and to it lustily awhile.
[Enter, at a distance, Host, and JULIA in boy’s clothes]
Host Now, my young guest, methinks you’re allycholly: I
pray you, why is it?
JULIA Marry, mine host, because I cannot be merry.
Host Come, we’ll have you merry: I’ll bring you where 30
you shall hear music and see the gentleman that you asked for.
JULIA But shall I hear him speak?
Host Ay, that you shall.
JULIA That will be music.
[Music plays]
Host Hark, hark! 35
JULIA Is he among these?
Host Ay: but, peace! let’s hear ’em.
Who is Silvia? what is she,
That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair and wise is she; 40
The heaven such grace did lend her,
That she might admired be.
Is she kind as she is fair?
For beauty lives with kindness.
Love doth to her eyes repair, 45
To help him of his blindness,
And, being help’d, inhabits there.
Then to Silvia let us sing,
That Silvia is excelling;
She excels each mortal thing 50
Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her let us garlands bring.
Host How now! are you sadder than you were before? How
do you, man? the music likes you not.
JULIA You mistake; the musician likes me not. 55
Host Why, my pretty youth?
JULIA He plays false, father.

Host How? out of tune on the strings?
JULIA Not so; but yet so false that he grieves my very
heart-strings. 60
Host You have a quick ear.
JULIA Ay, I would I were deaf; it makes me have a slow heart.
Host I perceive you delight not in music.
JULIA Not a whit, when it jars so.
Host Hark, what fine change is in the music! 65
JULIA Ay, that change is the spite.
Host You would have them always play but one thing?
JULIA I would always have one play but one thing.
But, host, doth this Sir Proteus that we talk on
Often resort unto this gentlewoman? 70
Host I tell you what Launce, his man, told me: he loved
her out of all nick.
JULIA Where is Launce?
Host Gone to seek his dog; which tomorrow, by his
master’s command, he must carry for a present to his lady. 75
JULIA Peace! stand aside: the company parts.
PROTEUS Sir Thurio, fear not you: I will so plead
That you shall say my cunning drift excels.
THURIO Where meet we?
PROTEUS At Saint Gregory’s well. 80
THURIO Farewell.
[Exeunt THURIO and Musicians]
[Enter SILVIA above]
PROTEUS Madam, good even to your ladyship.
SILVIA I thank you for your music, gentlemen.
Who is that that spake?
PROTEUS One, lady, if you knew his pure heart’s truth, 85
You would quickly learn to know him by his voice.
SILVIA Sir Proteus, as I take it.
PROTEUS Sir Proteus, gentle lady, and your servant.
SILVIA What’s your will?
PROTEUS That I may compass yours. 90
SILVIA You have your wish; my will is even this:
That presently you hie you home to bed.
Thou subtle, perjured, false, disloyal man!
Think’st thou I am so shallow, so conceitless,
To be seduced by thy flattery, 95
That hast deceived so many with thy vows?
Return, return, and make thy love amends.
For me, by this pale queen of night I swear,
I am so far from granting thy request
That I despise thee for thy wrongful suit, 100
And by and by intend to chide myself
Even for this time I spend in talking to thee.
PROTEUS I grant, sweet love, that I did love a lady;
But she is dead.
JULIA [Aside] ‘Twere false, if I should speak it; 105
For I am sure she is not buried.
SILVIA Say that she be; yet Valentine thy friend
Survives; to whom, thyself art witness,
I am betroth’d: and art thou not ashamed
To wrong him with thy importunacy? 110
PROTEUS I likewise hear that Valentine is dead.
SILVIA And so suppose am I; for in his grave
Assure thyself my love is buried.
PROTEUS Sweet lady, let me rake it from the earth.
SILVIA Go to thy lady’s grave and call hers thence, 115
Or, at the least, in hers sepulchre thine.
JULIA [Aside] He heard not that.
PROTEUS Madam, if your heart be so obdurate,
Vouchsafe me yet your picture for my love,
The picture that is hanging in your chamber; 120
To that I’ll speak, to that I’ll sigh and weep:
For since the substance of your perfect self
Is else devoted, I am but a shadow;
And to your shadow will I make true love.
JULIA [Aside] If ’twere a substance, you would, sure, 125
deceive it,
And make it but a shadow, as I am.
SILVIA I am very loath to be your idol, sir;
But since your falsehood shall become you well
To worship shadows and adore false shapes, 130
Send to me in the morning and I’ll send it:
And so, good rest.
PROTEUS As wretches have o’ernight
That wait for execution in the morn.
[Exeunt PROTEUS and SILVIA severally]
JULIA Host, will you go? 135
Host By my halidom, I was fast asleep.
JULIA Pray you, where lies Sir Proteus?
Host Marry, at my house. Trust me, I think ’tis almost
JULIA Not so; but it hath been the longest night 140
That e’er I watch’d and the most heaviest.

Next: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 4, Scene 3

Explanatory notes for Act 4, Scene 2
From The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Ed. Israel Gollancz. New York: University Society.

12. sudden quips:– Quips, meaning bitter retorts, or sharp sarcasms, thus occurs in Much Ado About Nothing, II. iii. 241-243: “Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of the brain awe a man from the career of his humour?”

75. out of all nick:– That is, beyond all reckoning. Accounts were formerly kept by cutting nicks or notches in a tally-stick. Thus in A Woman Never Vexed, 1532: ” I have carried these tallies at my girdle seven years together; for I did ever love to deal honestly in the nick.” The time is not very remote when such tallies were finally disused in the English Exchequer; being laid aside, no doubt, because the accounts grew to be out of all nick.

83. Saint Gregory’s well:– This was probably one of the “holy wells” to which popular belief attributed supernatural virtues, and which were visited something as our fashionable watering-places are, but usually, no doubt, with different feelings. The town in which is Saint Winifred’s well, in North Wales, is called Holywell. The well is still inclosed by the Gothic temple erected by the mother of Henry VII.

136. halidom:– Nares says that this word is properly derived from holy and dom, like kingdom, making the oath mean something like by my faith. Some complete it thus: “By my faith as a Christian.”

141. most heaviest: – The double superlative, as well as the double comparative, was often used in Shakespeare’s time.


How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Ed. Israel Gollancz. New York: University Society, 1901. Shakespeare Online.